Justin Olivetti

Senior Reporter

A casual gamer and long-time MMO fan, Justin is often heard yelling, "Player housing for all!" in the Massively Overpowered offices. In addition to news, he tackles LOTRO Legendarium for LOTRO, The Perfect Ten, Jukebox Heroes, the retrospective Game Archaeologist series, One Shots, and the Massively OP podcast.

Personal blog: BioBreak
Twitter: @sypster

Villagers and Heroes throws an open house with its Wellspring content update

A year or so ago, Villagers and Heroes actually didn’t have player housing that you could enter and enjoy. That changed, and with this week’s Wellspring content update, the ability to customize one’s village has grown even further.

“Wellspring isn’t just a little build with a couple of pretty new plants added, or a few minor tweaks made here and there to the otherwise routine gameplay,” the devs wrote. “It is a dynamic expansion to Villagers and Heroes which has transformed the weighty and elaborate crafting and gathering elements of the game into a lean, tight system, one which, though now much simplified, still retains the richness and complexity as it ever did before.”

Patch 4.14 added seven new village projects to customize the looks, direct-to-house transport, more mayoral campaign options, a streamlined village management UI, the elimination of rent, improved gathering, and several new options for the mobile edition of the MMO.

Source: Patch notes

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Elder Scrolls Online rolls out special Twitch drops and crates

Twitch and Elder Scrolls Online have decided to hold hands and go skipping along in a park together. ZeniMax announced that new Twitch drops for ESO are now a thing, provided that players have linked their accounts.

Starting on May 21st, players will get a free Twitch crate every time they make an ESO purchase through the Twitch store. These crates have a variety of consumables and a chance at a very rare mount and pet.

If you want a crate without paying money, you’ll have your opportunity by watching supported Twitch streams (coming soon). View all the way to the end of these special streams, and poof, you’ll get a free crate. Cool, eh?

Source: Elder Scrolls Online. Thanks Jason!

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s flight requirements listed, Kul Tiran Druid acquatic forms discovered

Enjoy your friendly skies now, flyboys and flygirls, because World of Warcraft is prepared to ground you once again in its next expansion. And while everyone knew that we’d have to hoof it for a while like savages, at least now we know some of what we’ll have to do to regain flight privileges.

The list to gain flight access in Battle for Azeroth looks daunting, but it’s also very similar to the path that players had to undergo in Legion. Basically, you’ll need to go through all of the main storylines, fully explore all of the zones, and max out your reputation with several new factions. It’s important to note that this list is just part one of the requirements and not the whole deal. Again, much like with Legion.

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Age of Conan celebrates its tenth birthday by throwing lions at everyone

Ten years of live operation, and Conan still looks like someone killed his puppy. Maybe you need a new hobby, Mr. The Barbarian? We hear there’s this new sandbox survival game out right now that’s pretty hot.

Anyway, Age of Conan is officially 10 years old this month, and to celebrate the occasion, Funcom is throwing players to the lions. Er, wait, that’s not right. They’re throwing lions at the players. Still sounds unsafe, but no matter. Anyone who logs in between now and June 5th will receive their own totally safe, no training necessary Golden Lion of Aquilonia mount.

The anniversary event also includes new daily rewards, an extra raid finder chest that can be opened every day, the addition of the Black Ring Citadel to the raid finder, several quality-of-life changes (such as being able to disable PvE XP), and the return of Shadows of the Past and Acheronian Soul classic content.

Source: Age of Conan

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Worlds Adrift launches on Steam early access while overseen by actual airship

Floating up out of the drydock of closed beta, Worlds Adrift launched into the bright blue skies of early access today. The airship sandbox drummed up hype for the release with a publicity stunt that involved hauling a batch of players high up into the air over London to try out the game. (The first livestream in the sky? Why not!)

Worlds Adrift is now releasing to Steam Early Access,” Bossa Studios trumpeted. “This means we have opened up additional servers for both US and EU regions, and will release more servers depending on player population. The UI for the character creation screen has been adjusted to make it easier to pick a server to play on.”

With the early access start comes a full wipe and a new build that includes a different layout, additional islands, new clothing items, double the amount of ancient written stories, all-new music, and plenty of bug fixes.

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Hearthstone reveals the next round of nerfs that are on their way

In a game like Hearthstone, the job of balancing cards will never, ever be done. So if you like titles with stability and permanence, don’t play digital card games is what we’re saying. With this in mind, Blizzard revealed the next round of “balance changes” that will be coming in a future patch.

The studio calls it balance, but the reality is that all of these changes are either nerfs to a card’s ability or an increase in the cost of the cards to better match the effect that it causes. Cards like Naga Sea Witch, Spiteful Summoner, Possessed Lackey, and Call to Arms are all going to cost more (a lot more in the case of the Witch), while Dark Pact is going to restore less health and The Caverns Below will create weaker minions.

Adjust your builds and meta outlook accordingly.

Source: Hearthstone

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Blade and Soul promises a new class, engine upgrade, and new raids

Feeling like your Blade and Soul character has hit a plateau in his or her development? Then it’s probably time to graduate to the next level, thanks to an upcoming job extension feature that will transform your class into an evolved version. Yes, that old favorite from JRPGs is heading into the game so that your character can graduate to an advanced level.

MMO Culture shared one example of these evolutions, stating that Warlocks will be able to grow up into Distortionists. Next up on the table for Blade and Soul? Other than an upgrade to a new graphics engine, players have been looking forward to the next classes to hit the scene. We may know of at least one of these, thanks to a vision preview. The class in question is the Tusan, a fast fighter than can berserk up close or deal out ranged damage.

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Trove hauls out a small patch while the community goes crazy over gem rumors

Trove’s May update is here and threatens to undo the very foundations of the game, starting with the change from cube voxels to geodesic spheres. Oh, the blockmanity!

Actually, the real patch is nothing quite so radical. Trion decided to retire some items from Chaos Chests, added a new set of dream dev allies, provided more information on the welcome screen for events and changes, and made a number of other adjustments to the crazy sandbox.

While that’s happening, the playerbase is trying to sort through rumors that Trion is doing… something with gems. Adding a new tier? Introducing a different type? Giving players alternative ways to make and collect them? It’s not completely certain, but there is movement on this front. Check out the video below for more speculation on the matter!

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RIFT hotfix brings soul changes, dragons, and events to the servers

While its rollout has been rocky today, RIFT’s “lucky” 13th hotfix brought a lot of content and changes to both the regular and Prime servers.

The major focus of the hotfix was on the game’s souls and callings, with a particular focus on the progression server’s class balance. You’re going to want to run down the whole extensive list (are we sure this is a mere hotfix?) for all of the details, but Trion did note that it made a big fix to buff stacking that could help or hurt certain builds depending.

On the live server, the Seeker event is going on from now through June 15th. By discovering and solving puzzles, players can earn free silver tier loyalty in the game store.

Then, over on Prime, the Greenscale’s Blight raid has gone live, a new vigil challenge is underway, and crafting rifts are now a thing. Players can log in to get a couple of nice freebies: a third character slot and a Verde companion pet.

Source: Patch notes

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Lord of the Rings Online’s 2018 roadmap includes a huge northern expansion and seasonal instances

Don’t call it a full-fledged expansion, but Lord of the Rings Online’s next content update may be nearing that level of content and focus.

Standing Stone Games Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini posted a roadmap to the community today that laid out the rest of 2018 and beyond for the Middle-earth MMO. Ciccolini said that the team will be delaying the release of Minas Morgul in order to properly flesh up the rest of North Rhovanion over the next couple of updates. This includes a huge addition to the game with the Iron Hills and Grey Mountains regions, a level cap increase to 120, another part of the Black Book of Mordor epic storyline, an instance cluster, and a new raid.

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Perfect Ten: How MMOs can become more accessible

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.

MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.

When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.

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Guild Wars 2 game director talks about the free market and lootboxes

Convenience and cosmetics. These are the foundational pillars of Guild Wars 2’s microtransactions, and back at GDC earlier this year, Game Director Crystin Cox opened up about how ArenaNet monetized its game using these pillars along with the free market and lootboxes.

“Expressing yourself, relating to other people, showing off, making a visual representation of who you are, is hugely important to a lot of MMO players, so that was always very high on our list,” she said. As for convenience items, Cox emphasized how the studio “respected people’s time” and wanted to make items that could trade time and money if so desired.

As for the dual currency system, Cox said that it has turned out quite well for the MMO: “I think we’ve done incredibly well with the free market because it accurately represents the value of the things that people are purchasing.”

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Sea of Thieves temporarily disables its new open and closed crew feature

Yesterday, Rare patched in a new feature into Sea of Thieves that was designed to allay the rampant griefing going on within player crews. The new open and closed crew feature allows players to select between pugging and only grouping with friends. A good first step, we suppose, except that the studio had to take the system offline due to errors.

“Due to a high volume of AllmondBeard errors we’ll be scheduling another emergency maintenance window at 16:15 PDT,” the studio posted on Twitter. “During this window we’ll temporarily remove the Open/Closed Crews feature as well as the invisible underwater gamer tags. We’ll post more information as we have it.”

This system, along with the disabling of underwater name plates, continues to be disabled this morning even as the game has been brought back online. “The game is still experiencing server instability and players may experience issues,” the studio said. Rare urged players to stay tuned to its Twitter feed for current information.

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